City Legislative Priorities

Strong cities make a great state. Cities house 65 percent of the state’s residents, drive its economy, and provide the most accessible government. The continued success of cities depends on adequate resources and community-based decision-making to best meet the needs of our residents. Preserving local decision-making continues to be one of our core principles.


Watch this short video on AWC's six 2019 Legislative Priorities



Support economic development tools to encourage job creation and economic growth

Washington’s cities need additional economic development tools that assist in maintaining, expanding, and modernizing local infrastructure to help spur local private sector investment. By supporting value capture financing, the Legislature can partner with cities and towns to advance our shared goals of building a robust and diverse economy for communities around the state.

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Keep the Public Works Trust Fund in working order

Cities support ongoing investment in the various infrastructure funding programs sponsored by the state. In particular, the Public Works Trust Fund (PWTF) is a crucial funding partner in our efforts to provide the necessary infrastructure for our communities. We seek full funding for the Public Works Board’s $217 million budget, funded from the current stream of loan repayments and the 2 percent of REET dedicated to the account. Additionally, we look to strengthen the program by ending REET fund diversions from the account now instead of waiting until 2023.

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Invest in affordable housing

Communities around the state are facing a housing affordability crisis. Cities support an ongoing $200 million capital budget investment in the Housing Trust Fund, a $20 million per year local government revenue sharing proposal, and $1.5 million per year for reinvestment of the sales tax from the construction of multifamily development. In addition, cities support proposals that remove barriers to affordable housing, including voluntary density and infill development solutions, opportunities for creating shared housing, and addressing condominium liability to expand housing choices.

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Fund a systems approach to correct fish-blocking culverts

AWC and state agency partners are focused on developing and funding a comprehensive statewide approach to fix salmon-blocking culverts. In order to achieve meaningful salmon and orca recovery, cities need ongoing and significant funding to upgrade city culverts. This critical investment will support fish passage by maximizing collaboration with the state’s legal obligation to upgrade its culverts, while also addressing other critical needs like stormwater and water quality. Cities support creating a permanent framework to fund systemwide corrections that begins with fully funding the Fish Barrier Removal Board this biennium, including capacity for a grant program in the second half of the biennium. An effective framework also includes a commitment to future investment.

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Provide responsive funding for the Criminal Justice Training Commission (CJTC)

Cities need a responsive funding model for the CJTC to ensure that newly-hired law enforcement officers and corrections officers have timely access to basic training. Cities seek funding for at least 19 Basic Law Enforcement Academy (BLEA) classes per year and at least seven Corrections Officer Academy classes per year in order to meet our public safety needs.

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Address a failing behavioral health system

Cities are experiencing the ramifications of an overwhelmed mental health and drug abuse response system. The state needs to make investments sufficient to improve access to these systems and their success across the state. Cities will work with the state to pursue enhancements and reforms to the behavioral health delivery systems including engaging with mental health transformation proposals, the Trueblood settlement, making permanent the mental health co-responder program, and supporting comprehensive opioid response legislation.

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Legislative priority process

The AWC Legislative Priorities Committee meets multiple times per year to identify and recommend to the AWC Board of Directors which city issues should be priorities. The committee comprises approximately 40 city officials from throughout the state. The AWC Board of Directors adopts the next year's legislative priorities at its fall meeting. AWC Regional Meetings are held throughout the fall and include details on AWC’s priorities.

Federal priorities

The health and vitality of local economies are critical to a robust and dynamic national economy. Federal fiscal policies should enhance the ability of local elected officials to respond to needs at the local level. More



Access AWC’s online library of Legislative Bulletin and CityVoice news articles to search for issue updates by topic.

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